Kings of Leon

Vintage heartbreak

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By Gary Graff  

"Let the good times roll" is what frontman Caleb Followill declares on the second track of the Kings of Leon's Aha Shake Heartbreak, and the times are mostly good on the Tennessee quartet's sophomore release. The sound, produced by Ethan Johns, is spare and slightly brittle, creating an ambience that recalls the Strokes and also hearkens back to the early '70s vintage Rolling Stones of Exile on Main Street. The music takes all sorts of twists and turns -- the Tex-Mex touch of "King of the Rodeo," the hill country yodels of "Day Old Blues," the trippy double-speed groove of "Taper Jean Girl." But at their core, the Kings of Leon are punky classic rockers who lean on attitude as much as ability.

Gary Graff writes extensively about music. His work has appeared widely in such publications as The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Detroit Free Press, and Billboard.